Ancient Axe Used as Doorstop
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  1. #1
    hu
    Gypsyheart~ Queen of Rust

    Nov 2005
    Ozarks
    12,686
    277 times

    Ancient Axe Used as Doorstop

    Saugus doorstop is ancient artifact
    By Kathryn O’Brien/ kaobrien@cnc.com
    Thursday, August 10, 2006 - Updated: 06:05 PM EST

    A rock that has been propping open doors in the Zapolski household for decades is actually a 4,000-year-old Native American axe.

    "My mother used it as a doorstop," said Kathy (Johnston) Zapolski this week.

    Zapolski’s 90-year-old aunt, Adele Colby, recalls that some time in the early 1900s her father (Zapolski’s grandfather) was attempting to plant a garden in his backyard on Willis Street when he came across a slightly-rounded, carved rock that resembled part of an Indian tool, possibly an axe. Willis Street is located off Winter Street, less than a quarter of a mile from the Saugus River.



    For all these years, the rock has remained in the family, but they have never bothered to have the rock officially catalogued or appraised for its value.

    Last week Kathy’s husband, Charlie, decided to stop by the Saugus Iron Works with the 2.9-pound igneous rock and show it to the curator of the Saugus Iron Works, Carl Salmons-Perez. The Saugus resident then returned a few days later to let the museum’s technician Janet Regan, who has worked on archeological projects in Saugus, have a look-see.

    "When I stopped by the Iron Works, the curator’s mouth almost dropped," recalled Charlie Zapolski. "The Iron Works curator ’was beside himself,’" he observed.

    Since the location of the "find" is identified as a specific Saugus site, the Zapolskis have been told that the artifact is "more important" in the eyes of the archeological experts.

    When the Saugus Iron Works staff this week checked through their catalog database, Regan found a couple of similar stone axes in the Saugus Ironworks collection.

    The Zapolski axe "has more defined craftsmanship" than the ones currently contained in the Ironworks collection, said Curator Salmons-Perez.

    The curator pronounced that the artifact is between 2,500-5,000 years old.

    "It’s from the archaic period," added Salmons-Perez.

    He noted that "it’s made in Saugus and has a direct link to what we collect here. We’d love to have it in our collection," added Salmons-Perez.

    Although the other axe artifacts at the Iron Works are currently stored away during ongoing construction of the 1917 building those houses the National Park museum, Regan and Salmons-Perez dug them out of storage to make a physical comparison.

    One of the axes, which was found on the site of the Ironworks during an archeological dig completed by project archeologist Roland Robbins from 1948-1953, is heavier than Zapolski’s and a lighter shade of grey yet it has the same texture of an igneous rock.

    The Native American axe/door stop is roughly six inches long and a few inches thick and it weighs several pounds. It is carved around the middle section where the natives would have lashed a wooden handle onto it with a piece of rawhide, according to Curator Salmons-Perez who confirmed that the Zapolski’s artifact was most likely used as a woodworking tool to cut down trees or build canoes.

    The worth of the artifact is "moderately low" said the curator who noted that it has more of a "cultural value" than a monetary one.


    "They’re priceless to us," said Salmons-Perez who added, "The artifacts give us a cultural context."

    Zapolski, who has checked out similar pieces on E-bay, noted that the axe is probably worth about $100-$200.

    Digging in the dirt

    It makes sense that the arrowhead was found on Willis Street since that location is only a short distance to the banks of the Saugus River where Native Americans may have set up encampments.



    In fact, Zapolski shared a story about a joke he played on visiting archeologists back in the 1980s who had set up a camp at the mouth of the Saugus River where it empties into the ocean at the Saugus/Lynn line on Boston Street.

    "They were digging up a stretch of land that runs along the railroad tracks from Saugus Center to Boston Street along the Saugus River. I was out for a run and noticed that they had a very professional system, digging underground in 20-by20 foot grid plots. They told me that for every inch of digging, 50 years of history is revealed," recalled Zapolski who added that the archeologists had come across clamshells that indicated Indian encampments had occurred in Saugus.

    "One day I stopped by, having put the arrowhead in my back pocket, and when their backs were turned, I placed the arrowhead into the ground and said ’hey, check this out over here."

    "They were dumbfounded. I let the joke go on for only a couple of minutes," laughed Zapolski who said that the historians photographed the arrowhead for their archives and then gave it back to him.

    As for the future of the arrowhead, Zapolski said that he might be willing to loan it to the Saugus Iron Works for a future display.

    And now that the axe has been identified as an ancient object, Zapolski said that he and his wife will probably store it in a more secure location such as a safety deposit box.

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  2. #2
    Atlantis0077

    Re: Ancient Axe Used as Doorstop

    Hey Gypsy,

    Wow, Indian door stop.....I was visiting with a lady one who was rumored to have some Indian pottery. I thought it would be local stuff and eagerly awaited seeing it as she removed it from dusty boxes in the closet. To my surprise it was western pottery...looked like stuff from Arizona or New Mexico....I have little expertise on that sort of thing, but tried my best to buy it or to get her to put it in a museum or something where it would be cared for...not so.

    I found out years later when I again inquired about the pottery that "they threw it in the dump because it was crumbling" I shudder to think how many dollars and how much history was lost in that one act. People just don't know what they have in many cases....and some just don't care. I am glad they found out what their axe was before it was too late.

    Atlantis

  3. #3
    us
    Dec 2010
    Iuka, Ms
    47
    5 times

    Re: Ancient Axe Used as Doorstop

    Umm, can someone tell the curator that this artifact is worth well more than $100-200? That is laughable. From what I can tell, that is one fine stone axe. If I had found it, and decided to sell it, it would be sold for much more than that. That's what the ol' "middle-man" will tell you every time. "Aw, it ain't worth that much........" Yet, he keeps persisting in asking you, "Do you want to sell it"? Yes, I had this happen to me several years ago as I was first getting into the collecting hobby. Ripped off by a shyster. It was the best education I could have gotten.

  4. #4
    us
    Sep 2010
    NW Florida
    eye
    136
    1 times

    Re: Ancient Axe Used as Doorstop

    Dear Middle Man,


    I agree with the above post all means! I remember selling you a pink and white clovis about 2 inches long a few years back. I did not know anything about all the rocks had just that they were Indian more or less. I am writing you to see if it would be of intrest to you to double your money and let me but it back. I have inclosed a check for that amount fourty dollars.



    Thanks,
    Got Had

  5. #5
    us
    Apr 2009
    cookeville
    495
    77 times

    Re: Ancient Axe Used as Doorstop

    I put an alarm system in a house for an older lady a year ago, she had old beautiful axes as doorstops all over her house. I figured she did;nt know much about them but she knew exactly what the were and that she had picked em up in Jackson Co as a little girl in her grandfathers fields as he plowed with mules and cussed about all the damn funny rocks in the ground.
    she then had me get a box down for her, it had about 7 more axes and some leaf shaped points about the size of my hand that blew my mind. If I ever go back there Ill see if I can get some pics of them. She taught me some history of this area that day as well. he grandfathers land was right near an old outpost at the Cumberland river crossing at a place called Fort Blunt.
    of course the Fort had nothing to do with the old axes, but this was a crossing area before then and livable area according to her and all the finds she had from that one area. She didnt know she even still had all the stuff till she graduated high school and her mother gave it all to her in a surprise gift. she had kept it all that time waiting for the time to give it all to her. I was in awe!!!
    just thought Id share that with all.


    Tree

  6. #6
    us
    Sep 2010
    NW Florida
    eye
    136
    1 times

    Re: Ancient Axe Used as Doorstop

    Tree did you go back out and dig today?

  7. #7
    Charter Member
    us
    Jan 2009
    South East Tennessee on Ga, Ala line
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    Re: Ancient Axe Used as Doorstop

    Thanks Gypsy that was good read. I have a friend who is 90. He has a large collections of axes and blades from Iowa stored in a large bronze bucket. It drives me crazy when he pours them out to show me. Life is full of door stops.
    Please read our rules and enjoy the site. TreasureNet.com Rules

    All finds posted by me are from private property with landowner permission.

  8. #8
    us
    Apr 2009
    cookeville
    495
    77 times

    Re: Ancient Axe Used as Doorstop

    naw Rock I didnt go, I was up and dressed ready to go when it started snowing, then decided not to chance getting stuck where I had to drive to.
    maybe next weekend I can get back to it. I spent most of the time yesterday cutting down trees I was scared may fall from the exposed (dug) roots.

  9. #9
    us
    Sep 2010
    NW Florida
    eye
    136
    1 times

    Re: Ancient Axe Used as Doorstop

    Quote Originally Posted by Treefrog
    naw Rock I didnt go, I was up and dressed ready to go when it started snowing, then decided not to chance getting stuck where I had to drive to.
    maybe next weekend I can get back to it. I spent most of the time yesterday cutting down trees I was scared may fall from the exposed (dug) roots.
    ten four well i am leaving out for california so i will look forward to seeing the stuff when I get a load back!

 

 

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